London: In a setback to non-English
speaking immigrants from countries like India, the British
High Court has dismissed a legal challenge to a new
immigration rule requiring people to be able to speak English
before coming to the UK to live with their spouse.
British citizen Rashida Chapti, 54, and her 57-year-old
Indian husband Vali Chapti were one of three named claimants
in the case. The couple, who have been married for 37 years,
have six children and have divided their time for 15 years
between Leicester and India.
But Vali Chapti, who does not speak, read or write
English, cannot move to the UK under the new immigration rule.
The challenge to the rule, introduced in November 2010,
also claimed the language requirement was unlawful and
constituted discrimination on grounds of race and nationality.
But Justice Beatson ruled the new language test was not
a disproportionate interference with the couples` right to
In his judgment, Justice Beatson ruled that the changes
did not interfere with the rights of the claimants, "since it
does not prevent marriage within the UK where both parties are
present, or prevent anyone within the UK from travelling
abroad to get married".
He ruled the aims - to promote integration and to protect
public services - were "legitimate aims".
Justice Beatson said: "The new rule does not indirectly
discriminate on the grounds of nationality, ethnic origins or
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants said the
ruling would affect many UK citizens.
But Britain`s Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "We
believe it is entirely reasonable that someone intending to
live in the UK should understand English, so that they can
integrate and participate fully in our society.